Innovative European project to combat obesity

NMS, with the groups led by Sílvia Conde and Paula Macedo, in collaboration with a consortium of partners, is part of the "PAS GRAS" project, funded by the European Commission.

Joana Sacramento, Rita Oliveira, Sílvia Conde, Paula Macedo, Adriana Capucho and Maria João Meneses


With funding of €9.5 million from Horizon Europe, this project aims to revolutionize the prevention and treatment of obesity, offering practical solutions for a healthier society. Under the leadership of Paulo Oliveira, from the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of the University of Coimbra (CNC-UC), the project "PAS GRAS: demystifying the metabolic, environmental and behavioral determinants of obesity in children, adolescents and young adults" faces the urgent problem of obesity, which affects millions of people around the world and poses significant health risks. It was already featured in Público newspaper.

Sílvia Conde and Paula Macedo, principal investigators at NOVA Medical School, emphasize the project's scientific objectives of finding effective solutions to combat the obesity epidemic and promote health.

“Obesity is a major public health concern which affects 150 million people in Europe and 650 million worldwide. Individuals with obesity are at a greater risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), cancer and depression” state the researchers, declaring that their goal is “to find effective solutions for combating the obesity epidemic and promote health. Through this project, our focus lies on addressing obesity starting from a young age”. Additionally, the researchers aim to raise awareness about the causes and consequences of obesity, reduce stigma, and inspire individuals to take action.

The NMS researchers also assert that “receiving this grant is an immensely fulfilling experience for the entire team. As scientists, it brings us great satisfaction to witness our work being acknowledged and chosen by a discerning international panel. This award brings recognition and validation to our work!”. The grant empowers them to advance their research, achieve scientific breakthroughs, and facilitate collaborations, knowledge exchange, and further research advancements across Europe.

The "PAS GRAS" project aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3.4, which aims to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases and promote well-being. By developing effective interventions for obesity and its associated comorbidities, the project contributes to improving public health outcomes. Additionally, the project aligns with SDG 5 by empowering women in research and fostering inclusivity. The team is committed to supporting female researchers and promoting a diverse research community.

The project will involve the collaboration of 13 other entities, including renowned institutions and organizations across Europe, creating a robust network to tackle the multifaceted challenges of obesity.

PAS GRAS Consortium: 

  • Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology of the University of Coimbra (CNC-UC, Portugal)
  • NOVA Medical School, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (NMS UNL, Portugal)
  • NOVA School of Science and Technology, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa (FCT NOVA, Portugal)
  • Associação de Ginástica do Centro (Portugal)
  • Associação Protectora Dos Diabéticos De Portugal (Portugal)
  • Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche (Itália)
  • European Society for Clinical Investigation (Holanda)
  • Fundación EURECAT (Espanha)
  • Instituto Pedro Nunes (Portugal)
  • Instituto Politécnico De Viana De Castelo (Portugal)
  • Instytut Biologii Doswiadczalnej Im. M. Nenckiego (Polónia)
  • King's College London (Reino Unido)
  • Martin-Luther-Universitat Halle-Wittenberg (Alemanha)
  • Mediagnost (Alemanha)
  • Technische Universität München (Alemanha)
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Bari Aldo Moro (Itália)
  • Uppsala Universitet (Suécia).
Sílvia Vilares Conde
Principal Investigator
Maria Paula Macedo
Principal Investigator (PI)
Rita Machado de Oliveira
Maria João Meneses
Post-Doctoral Fellow
Joana Sacramento
Junior Researcher FCT Scientific Employment Stimulus
Adriana Capucho
PhD Student